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Winterhawks Game Day Preview: Portland at Kelowna – Game #62

Pat Kempany

The Winterhawks and Rockets are each looking for their first weekend win as Portland heads north of the border to begin their nine day trip.

Puck Drop: 7:05 p.m.

Venue: Prospera Place

Listen: winterhawks.com/listen

Watch: WHL Live

PREVIOUS GAME – Winterhawks 2 at Chiefs 5: The Portland Winterhawks made an offensive push in the third period, but dropped the final meeting of the regular season to Spokane 5-2. Portland out-shot the visitors 21 to 7 in the final period.

The Chiefs scored four unanswered goals to open the night and the Hawks ran into a tough goaltender in the weekend opener. Bailey Brkin stopped a season-high 50 shots in the win.

Johnny Ludvig is finding his offensive flair with three goals and four assists in his last nine games. He scored the team’s first of the night in the third period. Joachim Blichfeld worked himself on the stat sheet with a power play goal and an assist to give him 105 points on the season.

Portland turns its attention to a two-game series in Kelowna on Saturday and Sunday, a team the Hawks beat twice at home earlier this year.

NOTABLES:

  • Blichfeld is now eight goals shy of 60 on the season with seven games to play. Only one Winterhawk player (Oliver Bjorkstrand) has reached that mark in the last 30 years.
  • Blichfeld and Jake Gricius accounted for 21 of the team’s shots.
  • The last time Bailey Brkin stopped 50 shots was in November 2017 when he was with the Kootenay Ice. Oddly enough, it was against the Winterhawks, and Portland won the game 5-2.
  • Spokane’s Riley Woods (G-2A) and Filip Kral (3A) each had three point nights for the Chiefs.

TODAY’S MATCH-UP:

Back in November, the Hawks beat Kelowna 3-0 and 4-2 at home. Joachim Blichfeld (3G-A) and Cody Glass (G-4A) paced the offense with back-to-back multi-point games.

The Winterhawks will be looking for the clean sweep against Kelowna this year, a team that is vying to hold on to its Wild Card positioning. On the year, Portland is 13-3-0-0 against B.C. Division opponents. Last night, the Rockets lost 7-4 in Vancouver, but it was a one-goal game after 40 minutes of play.

Former second round WHL Bantam pick Nolan Foote scored twice on Friday night and he enters the match-up with a four game goal streak. He leads the team with 33 goals and is ranked No.26 on the NHL’s Midseason Central Scouting among North American skaters. Kyle Topping continues to lead the way in points with 62 and he is one assist shy of 100 in his career. He will become the 33rd player in their team history to reach the century mark for apples.

Lassi Thomson checks in at fifth in rookie scoring with 40 points, just a few ahead of Seth Jarvis. The only two goals the Rockets scored against the Hawks this year came from 17-year-old rookies.

From a goaltending standpoint, Roman Basran has allowed two or fewer goals in his last five starts. Kelowna has the luxury of playing five of its last seven games at home and two home-and-home series to wrap up the regular season.

The Hawks need to be opportunistic on their last big road trip seeing as Kelowna and Prince George are both below .500 clubs and the Cougars have already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Join the Rosebuds and the Winterhawks fans tonight at the Buffalo Wild Wings Lloyd Center official watch party. The Hawks next home game is Tuesday, March 12 against the Everett Silvertips at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Please visit winterhawks.com/tickets for full details on pricing and availability.

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